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Malvinas: Argentina understands UK's insistence on tripartite talks, “but UN resolutions prevent it”

Thursday, March 20th 2014 - 03:28 UTC
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Daniel Filmus is convinced Argentina will eventually recover the Falklands Daniel Filmus is convinced Argentina will eventually recover the Falklands

The Telegraph published a long interview with Daniel Filmus recently appointed to head the Argentine government newly created Malvinas Islands Related Issues Secretariat in which he repeats many of the arguments of the Cristina Fernandez administration campaign referred to the Falklands sovereignty claim, using such words as 'colonialism' and 'militarization', and attacking UK's refusal to sit and dialogue as indicated by UN resolutions.

 Likewise Filmus rejects the idea of talking to the Falkland Islanders and discards last year's referendum, not in the aggressive terms of Cristina Fernandez who called Islanders a 'bunch of organized squatters', but in a subtle way now admits to understand UK's desire to include the Falklanders in any talks, and to a certain extent implicitly the right to self determination, but, what's the impediment? the United Nations resolution which he claims actively prevents tripartite talks.

“I do support Britain's stance not to talk with Argentina about the Malvinas Islands behind their inhabitants' backs; Argentina wouldn't either,” he said.

“However, UN Resolution 2065 and subsequent resolutions expressly point out that the sovereignty dispute between our countries must be resolved through negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, taking into account the interests of the inhabitants of the Islands” states Filmus according to The Telegraph interview.

Finally it should be mentioned that Mr. Filmus was unable to be re-elected Senator for the City of Buenos Aires and according to his biography he is a first generation Argentine: his mother is of Polish descent and his father came from Moldavia.

Follows the full article credited to Harriet Alexander under the heading of: “Falkland Islands will be ours, says Argentina's new minister”.

Argentina's newly appointed Falklands Islands secretary has said he is convinced that the islands will one day be returned to Argentine rule – and denounced Britain's “aggressive moves” in the region.

Daniel Filmus said the issue was “a question that runs deep in the hearts of the Argentine people,” speaking two days after Cristina Fernández, the Argentine president, met with the Pope and is thought to have asked him – as a fellow Argentine – to champion their cause.

And Mr. Filmus, a close ally of the firebrand president, told The Telegraph that Argentine people “find it inconceivable – at this stage in the 21st century – that a portion of their territory should be in the possession of a colonial power.”

But surely, three months into his freshly-created role, he cannot seriously believe that Britain's position on the Falkland Islands will change?

“Yes,” he replied, in a series of emailed responses. “The history of humankind has shown that the trend is for colonialism to disappear off the face of the Earth.

”We are convinced that the British people, whom we deeply respect, understand the injustice that arises from the rupture of a country's territorial integrity and that the rulers of the countries involved should resume dialogue.“

Mr. Filmus, 58, a former academic who became minister for education during the presidency of Ms Cristina Fernandez husband, Nestor Kirchner, has embraced the new role wholeheartedly.

Like his feisty boss, he is an ardent user of Twitter to convey his message. She refuses to give interviews, and instead rallies her troops directly with battle cries issued to her 2.6 million followers. He, meanwhile, uses the tool to reiterate rhetoric on the Isles, commiserate the deaths of Argentine Falklands war veterans, and issue strident ripostes to British minister's words.

When Hugo Swire, minister of state for the foreign office, said during a visit to the Falklands last month that he felt opposition politicians would have a ”more realistic and mature vision than the current government“, Mr. Filmus hit back that it was an Argentine policy that would never change.

He also gleefully tweeted another article in response, in which an Argentine senator, Aníbal Fernández, Cristina Fernandez former chief of cabinet, said that Mr Swire's ”tongue was larger than his head.“

The verbal crossfire peaked two years ago, with the 30th anniversary of the conflict, but has remained the defining feature of British-Argentine relations.

Is this relentless rhetoric not destroying what could otherwise be a good relationship?

”What is most affecting good relations between our countries is the UK's unwillingness to engage in dialogue, its failure to observe UN resolutions and the unilateral actions and militarization it is carrying out in the South Atlantic,“ he retorted.

And he accused Britain of making ”aggressive moves“ in the South Atlantic.

”The UN asks both the United Kingdom and Argentina to refrain from carrying out any unilateral actions in the Malvinas case,“ he said. ”The actions performed by the United Kingdom in the area, without Argentina's consent, especially military actions and actions that involve plundering natural resources in the disputed area, are aggressive moves“.

He dismissed Britain's repeated statement that it was up to the inhabitants of the Islands to decide upon their own rulers – saying that Britain ignored the wishes of those living on Diego Garcia, when they were forcible expelled from the Indian Ocean atoll in the late 1960s.

”In an ideal world, there shouldn't be colonial situations arising from territorial usurpation by force, and UN resolutions should be respected and complied with. That is why we consider that, if the UK were willing to engage in bilateral negotiations, this would greatly contribute to a better world and to respectful and supportive relations between our peoples,“ he said.

”The case of the Diego García Islands and its population is yet another example of the little importance Great Britain attaches to self-determination,“ he replied.

He continued: ”We do not dispute in any way the fact that the great majority of the Islanders are British. We do respect their decision.

“However, this does not mean that the British inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands can resolve the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

”This is because the principle of self-determination does not apply to just any community based in a territory, but only to peoples. It is certainly not applicable to the current inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands, who do not constitute a separate people and, what is more, have not been victims of colonialism.“

Argentina last month announced that it will seek prison sentences for anyone who drills for oil in Falkland waters. In August 2012 the so-called ”Gaucho Rivero“ law – named after an Argentine cowboy who led an uprising in the Falklands against the British in 1833 – was passed, preventing vessels sailing under the British flag from ”mooring, loading or carrying out logistical operations“ in any of Buenos Aires province's ports.

Aren't such rulings damaging Argentina's wider business climate, and making the country unattractive for business?

”Absolutely not,“ said Mr. Filmus. ”Compliance with the laws of our countries cannot be deemed to be the cause of a deteriorating business environment. Quite on the contrary, the observance of the law should strengthen relations. Our aspiration is for the terms of trade with the United Kingdom to see permanent improvement.“

And what is his answer to people who say this battle is all for economic reasons? That it acts as a smokescreen for domestic woes, while emphasizing Argentina's claim to the Islands where oil is being drilled?

Argentina's economy is currently taking a battering, with sky-high inflation thought to be reaching 40% masked by governmental fudging of official figures. Prices have been rising steadily since January, when the peso shed 18% of its value against the US dollar. Government reserves are half of what they were four years ago, and currency controls are hitting businesses hard. Protests in Buenos Aires are now common.

The Economist magazine – a long-standing critic of Mrs Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's regime – featured a front-page photo of a despondent Lionel Messi, the star footballer, looking dejected under the headline ”The parable of Argentina: a century of decline.“

Mr. Filmus rejected the idea that the government's focus is wrong.

”There is no doubt that all governments should be concerned about the economy and unemployment,“ he said.

”In Argentina, this has been amply demonstrated over this past decade, which saw the greatest economic growth in history (GDP has practically doubled since 2003 to date) and a drop in the unemployment rate from 22.5% to 6.7%. This all happened against the background of a world crisis, especially in Europe.“

But, he continued, ”the question of the Malvinas is not only one of the central pillars of our foreign policy, but also, and primarily, a question that runs deep in the hearts of the Argentine people.“

Mrs. Kirchner had lunch on Monday at the Vatican guesthouse where Pope Francis, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, now lives.

Shortly after his inauguration a year ago, Mrs. Kirchner met the Pontiff and said she had ”asked for his intervention to avoid problems that could emerge from the militarization of Great Britain in the South Atlantic.“

Officials on Monday would not say whether the Falklands issue was raised during their meeting.

Filmus on Monday travelled to the heart of Argentina's wine region, for a summit in the Andean town of Mendoza to launch the ”Malvinas Observatory of Mendoza“. This coalition of representatives from seven universities will act as a think tank ”to debate and investigate the theme“.

He said at the launch that the discussion was ”not from one party, or one government – but an issue that relates to all Argentines.“

But despite all the talk of debating the issues, Mr. Filmus flatly ruled out talking to the Falkland Islanders themselves. Hector Timmerman, the foreign minister, refused to meet William Hague during a visit to London over the summer when Mr. Hague said there would have to be representatives of the islanders present too. Mr. Filmus backed his stance.

He said that he understood Britain's desire to include Falklanders in any talks – and even that Argentina agreed. But a UN resolution, he claimed, actively prevented tripartite talks.

”I do support Britain's stance not to talk with Argentina about the Malvinas Islands behind their inhabitants' backs; Argentina wouldn't either,“ he said.

”However, UN Resolution 2065 and subsequent resolutions expressly point out that the sovereignty dispute between our countries must be resolved through negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, taking into account the interests of the inhabitants of the Islands.“

The Argentine politician's words will be greeted with sighs of resignation from the 3,000 people living in the Falklands.

But Mr. Filmus refused to see the situation as a stalemate.

”I do have a feeling of great responsibility, but also one of pride,“ he said. ”It is a big challenge, because it entails a fundamental task closely linked with my country's history and future, one of high importance in our relations with the UK.“

And then he added: ”It is not a 'mission impossible'.”

Top Comments

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  • Marcos Alejandro

    Oil province update
    Closer and closer(100p) but will it stop there?
    ↓ -3.75 (-3.44%)

    Mar 20th, 2014 - 03:49 am 0
  • Monkeymagic

    Lol...ruptured territorial integrity.....hahahahahahaha

    Dear Denmark

    Please can we have the Faroe Islands (180 miles from our coast) as you holding sovereignty ruptures our territorial integrity.



    Mar 20th, 2014 - 03:59 am 0
  • La Patria

    The way Filmus goes on, it makes you think he, Timmerman and the rest of the Cfk pirate crew would crap themselves if they ever found themselves in the same room as an islander. They use any excuse to avoid it.
    Come on islanders, what are your secret powers that the rest of us don't know about but cfk et al obviously do?

    Mar 20th, 2014 - 05:18 am 0
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